Incarnation, Salvation, and Creation
The Feast of the Incarnation of our Lord
25 December 2017
The creation is remade by its Creator. The Father has sent His Son born of Mary, through whom He also created the world and all that is in it as the incomparable Word (Gn 1:3). In that sending, the Lord used the original instrument of His creating power. His Word became incarnate that the very flesh which He made at the beginning became the vehicle of its salvation. Christ takes my flesh that He might return it to me recovered and pristine. What is more likely? That pre-incarnate Christ has repaired fallen flesh or that He made it in the first place? That Christ kissed life into Adam or that He reanimated dying humanity through the Spirit's breath hovering the deep waters of baptism? That Christ fed Adam and Eve on the fruit of the garden or that He feeds His people now on His own body and blood set generously before them on the table of His sacrament?

The power to create is not unlike the power to save the world. I find it remarkable that people who believe that Christ has saved them through His incarnation and subsequent life, death, and resurrection are yet unable to believe that God the Word was able to create the world in six days of normal length (Gn 1:5 et passim). How would we presume that God's Word is correct about God's incarnate Word saving the world though His incarnation, but incorrect about the creation of the universe? For my money, saving the world is much harder than just making it; salvation is bigger than creation every time.

Of course, Christians always believed that God was capable of doing what He says He did until they were cowed by the Darwinist myth of creation, papered over as it is with the thin veneer of scientific cant and buttressed by a strong dose of mockery and intellectual bullying. "No educated person could believe that God has created the universe in six twenty-four hour days!" We quake at such denigration of our reason. And then there come the evasive re-interpretations of Moses' clear creation account, so that the evenings and mornings are millennia long. And this in contradiction to the clear principle of confessional Lutheran theology that we must derive the meaning from the passage itself, rather than from our own opinions (Apology 4.224). No matter how hard we may try to shoehorn him into the creation account of Moses, Darwin and his acolytes cannot tell us what Genesis means any more than they could tell us what the birth of the Child of Mary in a Bethlehem stable means.

Creation myths are nothing new. Our Christian fathers like Athanasius of Alexandria were confronted with the pagan myths of creation. However, they were not cowed by the myths of their day. They confessed with St. Peter: "We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2Pt 1:16). Peter and hundreds of others were eyewitnesses of the majesty of this Creator who defeat death and destroyed the dominion of the devil. The Creator of all was none other than the Word who, by becoming incarnate, enters the creation of His own fashioning to rescue it from the treacherous pit into which Adam's fall cast it. Christ the Word came to get us out of it by getting into it. The Word who made flesh was made flesh for us sinners and so remakes creation. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Athanasius of Alexandria
"You should not fail to know the cause of the bodily appearing of the Word of the Father, so high and so great, nor think it a consequence of His own nature that the Savior has worn a body. Rather, being incorporeal by nature, and Word from the beginning, He has yet of the loving kindness and goodness of His own Father been manifested to us in a human body for our salvation. It is, then, proper for us to begin the treatment of this subject by speaking of the creation of the universe, and of God its artisan, that so it may be duly perceived that the renewal of creation has been the work of the self-same Word that made it at the beginning. For it will appear compatible for the Father to have worked its salvation in Him through whom He made it."

 Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation of the Word, 2.3-4

John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)
Collect for Christmas Day
Almighty God, grant that the birth of Your only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free from the bondage of sin; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

For Michael Koutsodontis, who is continuing to undergo therapy for cancer, that the Creator of all would grant healing the strength

For all who doubt God's ability to do what He says He can do, that they might be led into repentance of true faith in God's Word

For all those who are struggling spiritually this day filled with joy, because of the losses they have suffered this year, that they would be comforted by the birth of Christ child for us
Art: MARATTI, Carlo  The Holy Night (1650s)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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